But the night-wind has blown and the vision has flown,
And the sound of the children is still,
And the shadowy mist, like a spirit, has kissed
The graves by the church on the hill;
But softly, afar, sing the waves on the bar,
A song of the sunshine of yore:
A lullaby deep for the loved ones who sleep
Near the little old house by the shore.
* * * * *
When the tide goes out, how the foam-flakes dance
Through the wiry sedge-grass near the shore;
How the ripples spark in the sunbeam’s glance,
As they madly tumble the pebbles o’er!
The barnacled rocks emerging seem,
As their beards of seaweed are tossed about,
Like giants who wake from a troubled dream
And laugh for joy when the tide goes out.
When the tide goes out, how the shining sands,
Like silver, glisten, and gleam, and glow;
How the sea-gulls whirl, in their joyous bands,
O’er the shoals where the breakers come and go!
The coal-black driftwood, gleaming wet,
Relic of by-gone vessel stout,
With its clinging shells, seems a bar of jet,
Studded with pearls, when the tide goes out.
When the tide goes out, how the breezes blow
The nodding plumes of the pine-trees through;
How the far-off ships, like flakes of snow,
Are lightly sprinkled upon the blue!
The Sea, as he moves in his slow retreat,
Like a warrior struggling for each redoubt,
But with flashing lances the sand-bars meet
And drive him back, when the tide goes out.
When the tide goes out, how each limpid pool
Reflects the sky and the fleecy cloud;
How the rills, like children set free from school,
Prattle and plash and sing aloud!
The shore-birds cheerily call, the while
They dart and circle in merry rout,—
The face of the ocean seems to smile
And the earth to laugh, when the tide goes out.
When the tide goes out, as the years roll by,
And Life sweeps on to the outer bar,
And I feel the chill of the depths that lie
Beyond the shoals where the breakers are,
I will not rail at a kindly Fate,
Or welcome Age with a peevish pout,
But still, with a heart of Youth, await
The final wave, when the tide goes out.
* * * * *
When the great, gray fog comes in, and the damp clouds
cloak the shore,
And the tossing waves grow dim, and the white sails flash no more,
Then, over the shrouded sea, where the winding mist-wreaths creep,
The deep-voiced Watchers call, the Watchers who guard the Deep.
* * * * *